Sign Language in Göttingen

Annika Herrmann


As a research assistant for German Linguistics and Sign Language Research, I currently conduct the Sign Language Lab at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen, where we work on various research projects. I studied German Philology, Geography and Ethnology at the Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz between 1999 and 2005. During this time, I visited Galway, Ireland for six months on a DAAD grant for master theses to compare German and Irish Sign Language. Between 2006 and 2009, I received a DFG scholarship and did a doctorate at the Goethe-University of Frankfurt's post-graduate program 'Sentence Types: Variation and Interpretation'. In my doctoral thesis, I investigated modal and focus particles in three different sign languages. During the time of my PhD, I was a lecturer at the German Institute and the Institute for Education at the Gutenberg-University of Mainz, where I taught linguistics and various aspects of sign language research. From October 2009 until January 2010, I was a research assistant at the Gutenberg-University of Mainz as part of a research group on 'Neurocognition of Language Universals' at the Department for English and Linguistics. During this time, I started with an innovative EEG-project on 'Neurophysiological Foundations of Sign Language', which our team in Göttingen is now carrying on in cooperation with Dr. Matthias Schlesewsky.

I am interested in theoretical and experimental sign language linguistics, mainly examining different interfaces of grammar. This particularly includes non-manual features and their functions for example in information structure, the syntax-prosody interface and modal and focus particles. At the moment, we are investigating the processing of spatial relations in German Sign Language (DGS). Different psycho- and neurolinguistic studies with EEG and eye tracking experiments yield interesting results in this field. Furthermore, issues such as sign language quotation, agreement marking and the diachronic development of DGS are relevant for my research. Sign languages are most fascinating languages and sign language linguistics is an excellent research field to test linguistic theories, language universals, and the language faculty across modalities.